Rashad Hussain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Rashad Hussain
Rashad Hussein at UN in Geneva 2011-02-08.jpg
Rashad Hussain at the UN in Geneva, February 8, 2011
2nd United States Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Incumbent
Assumed office
February 13, 2010
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded bySada Cumber
Personal details
Born1978
Wyoming
ProfessionLawyer
ReligionIslam
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Rashad Hussain
Rashad Hussein at UN in Geneva 2011-02-08.jpg
Rashad Hussain at the UN in Geneva, February 8, 2011
2nd United States Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Incumbent
Assumed office
February 13, 2010
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded bySada Cumber
Personal details
Born1978
Wyoming
ProfessionLawyer
ReligionIslam

Rashad Hussain (born in 1978), is an American attorney, and U.S. Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second largest intergovernmental body after the UN, with 57 member states.[1] Hussain, a Muslim of Indian heritage, has served in the White House Counsel's Office, and in his role as Envoy, has advised the Administration on policy issues related to the Muslim world. He has traveled to numerous countries and international conferences, and has met with foreign leaders and Muslims around the world.[2] His position, "a kind of ambassador at large to Muslim countries, was created by President George W. Bush." [3]

Background[edit]

Hussain was born in Wyoming and was raised in Plano, Texas, the son of Indian-born U.S. citizens. His father, Mohammad Hussain, was an eminent mining engineer. His mother Ruqaiya, and his older sister Lubna are medical doctors, and his younger brother, Saad is a medical student.[4]

Hussain is a graduate of Greenhill School in Dallas, Texas. While at Greenhill, Hussain was a member of the school's nationally recognized policy-debate team, partnering with Josh Goldberg to win the Texas state debate championship and a number of national competitions.[5]

Hussain completed a bachelor’s degree in two years, in both philosophy and political science, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His philosophy thesis was titled "Assessing the Theistic Implications of Big Bang Cosmological Theory."[6] He holds a Masters degree in Arabic & Islamic Studies from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. At Yale, he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.[7]

After college, but before entering law school, he worked as a legislative aide for the House Judiciary Committee, where he reviewed the USA Patriot Act and other bills.[6] He was a 2003 Fellow of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.[8]

In August 2008, while working as a law clerk for Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Hussain co-authored a paper, "Reformulating the Battle of Ideas: Understanding the Role of Islam in Counterterrorism Policy" for the Brookings Institution. It advocates the use of Islam in countering terrorist ideology.[9]

Deputy Associate Counsel[edit]

In January 2009, Hussain was named deputy associate counsel to President Barack Obama. Previously, he has served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice[10] and as Associate Counsel to the Obama Presidential Transition Team.

The Washington Post reported that, "After the 2008 election, Hussain was recruited to the White House Counsel's office by Greg Craig and Cassandra Butts, a fellow Tar Heel and Obama's former Harvard Law classmate. He has worked there on national security and new media issues, and helped inform the administration's Muslim outreach efforts.[11]

Mr. Hussain also "began advising the president on issues related to Islam after joining the White House counsel’s office in January 2009." [12] Ben Rhodes, Obama's chief foreign policy speechwriter and Deputy National Security Advisor, sought Hussain's counsel as he drafted the president's Cairo address."[5] Hussain also joined the President and the staff that traveled to Egypt for the speech at Cairo University in 2009.[13]

Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation[edit]

On February 13, 2010, President Obama appointed Hussain as the United States Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[14] After the appointment, President Obama said:

As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo, and as a Hafiz of the Quran, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.[1][15]

The Religion News Service said that rather than noting that Hussain has memorized the Qu'ran, "Muslims abroad are more likely to take note of his White House credentials, and access to the Oval Office, as he seeks partnerships in education, health, science and technology."[16]

The previous U.S. Special Envoy to the OIC, Bush appointee Sada Cumber,[17] said that Hussain: "will face the twin challenges of showing the Muslims that Obama’s Cairo speech was more than flowery rhetoric while also demonstrating to the American public that the current administration’s emphasis on soft power is paying concrete dividends.”"[18]

As envoy, Hussain has sought to expand partnerships between the U.S. and the Muslim world and has been outspoken on the need to combat terrorism, stating in a speech to Muslim Foreign Ministers, "It is our duty to eradicate this ideology completely and blaming the foreign policy of any country is not the answer. No policy grievance justifies the slaughter of innocent people."[19]

In 2012 Hussain attended meetings at the OIC Heads of State Summit in Mecca. He had bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, President Zardari of Pakistan, Prime Minister Aziz of Mauritania, President Sall of Senegal, Vice President Sambo of Nigeria, and OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu, discussing Syria, Middle East transitions to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, and U.S. relations with Muslim communities worldwide. He also met in a pre-dawn Ramadan meal with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and met with President Gul of Turkey and President Karzai of Afghanistan.[20]

Efforts on Protecting Religious Minorities and Combating Anti-Semitism[edit]

Hussain also has been an advocate for the protection of religious minorities, and has worked on efforts to improve the protection of Christians and religious minorities living in Muslim-majority countries.[21] He has also sought to combat anti-Semitism by denouncing Holocaust denial and the publication of anti-Semitic materials in the Muslim world. In May 2013, Hussain and the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism traveled with imams from around the world to Holocaust sites in Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of Hussain's "efforts to combat Holocaust denial and to address discrimination against religious minorities." [22] He also took a similar trip with American imams to Holocaust sites in 2010.[23] Hussain has been outspoken against anti-Semitism during his other travel,[24] and ADL President Abraham Foxman noted that Hussain's condemnation of "anti-Semitism in the Muslim and Arab world is significant" and that "influential figures, particularly political and religious leaders in the Muslim and Arab world, should emulate Ambassador Hussain's example." [25] In January 2013, Mr. Hussain received the Distinguished Honor Award which is given for "exceptionally outstanding service to the agencies of the U.S. Government resulting in achievements of marked national or international significance." [26]

Comments on Sami Al-Arian[edit]

Rashad Hussain's comments on Sami Al-Arian became the subject of coverage in the media after Rashad Hussain was appointed United States Special Envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in February 2010. The controversy concerned remarks made by Hussain as a law student in 2004, criticizing procedural issues in the U.S. terror prosecution of Sami Al-Arian.[27] He drew "criticism from conservatives for calling the prosecution of some terror suspects 'politically motivated,' a comment both Hussain and The White House denied."[28] Al-Arian, a South Florida Professor and activist who was invited to the White House in the Bush and Clinton Administrations, was acquitted on 8 counts and pled to one in exchange for deportation after a jury deadlocked on the remaining nine counts. A commentator at the Council on Foreign Relations stated that, "The controversy led to a larger question of whether the United States should engage the Organization of Islamic Conference diplomatically."[29]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obama picks special envoy to world Muslim group". CNN. February 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ Cooper, Helene (February 13, 2010). "U.S. Envoy is to Be Link to Muslims". New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Rashad Hussain - The New York Times". New York Times. April 19, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Another Indian-American appointed to Obama's legal team". Rediff. January 31, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (February 28, 2010). "Rashad Hussain, a Muslim and new U.S. envoy, is bridge between two worlds". Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Profile: Rashad Hussain Appointed Deputy Associate". Muslim Media Network. February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ "President Obama Announces Key Additions to the Office of the White House Counsel". The White House. January 28, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Spring 2003 Fellows: Rashad Hussain". Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Reformulating the Battle of Ideas: Understanding the Role of Islam in Counterterrorism Policy". Brookings Institution. February 13, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Obama names U.S. envoy to Muslim world body". Reuters. February 13, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Obama’s spiritual Cabinet shapes policy, tends his soul". Religion News Service. March 10, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  12. ^ Elliott, Andrea (April 10, 2010). "White House Quietly Courts Muslims in U.S.". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ Parsons, Christi (August 2, 2009). "The Crafting of Obama's Cairo Speech". L.A. Times. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Obama Taps Envoy to Islamic Group to Improve Ties (Update2)". Business Week. February 13, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ "President Obama Addresses the U.S.-Islamic World Forum". The White House Blog. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Obama’s spiritual Cabinet shapes policy, tends his soul". Religion News Service. March 10, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Obama names new US envoy to global Islamic body". BBC News. February 13, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  18. ^ Goodenough, Patrick (February 26, 2010). "First U.S. Envoy to the OIC Says the Position Does Have Value". Cybercast News Service. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Remarks Of Rashad Hussain, U.S. Special Envoy At The Oic 37th Session Of The Oic Council Of Foreign Ministers". 2010 Press Releases. Embassy of the United States Dushanbe. May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  20. ^ Special Envoy Hussain’s Meetings at the OIC Heads of State Summit in Mecca, U.S. Department of State announcement, August 15, 2012.
  21. ^ "Remarks Of Rashad Hussain, Protecting the Rights of Christians and Religious Minorities in the Muslim World". November 30, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Special Envoy Hussain Travels to Holocaust Sites in Poland". May 21, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Visit to Auschwitz and Dachau". September 16, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Obama’s Islamic conference envoy pushes back on anti-American tirade". August 4, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Why the U.S. Slammed an Arab TV Series and why the World Should Take Heed". July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "United States Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference". April 25, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  27. ^ Bream, Shannon (February 16, 2010). "Obama's Islamic Envoy Quoted Defending Man Charged With Aiding Terrorists". Fox News. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  28. ^ Goler, Wendell (April 27, 2010). "Obama’s New OIC Envoy Defended Activist Who Aided Terrorist Group". Fox News. Retrieved April 28, 2010. [dead link]
  29. ^ Johnston, Toni (June 29, 2010). "The Organization of the Islamic Conference". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]